Our society seems to be enthralled with labeling. All the products we buy have labels on them denoting the ingredients and how much of what is bad for us is included within the package on which the label rests. Many people are obsessed with these labels and must read every ingredient. Personally, I very rarely look at the damn label. I just pick up the product I want and purchase it.
I have gone into people’s homes only to find most everything has a label on it. They label their shelving upon which their personal belongings are placed. Their food bottles are labeled and denote when the product was bought. Generally, some people are just compulsive and feel the need to just slap a label on everything to denote their ownership of each and every item in their possession. I only wish I had that much time to spend on such an inane task!
Within our rainbow tent there are labels galore representing the many diverse interests within it; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender individuals. There are also pansexual, asexual, and other “sexual” individuals, and of course those who are intersex. Each of these “groups” wish to be recognized, with their own set of standards and beliefs, setting them apart from the others, and from the rest of society generally. And of course it is the politically correct thing to do!
Then there are those who do not wish to be “labeled” and be constricted by such narrow definitions of their sexuality and simply call themselves “queer.” However, the very essence of calling oneself queer is in effect placing a label on oneself – the very thing they did not want to do!
LGBTQ folks feel the need to label who they are for many different reasons; it defines who they are, it sets them apart from everyone else, it provides a uniqueness about them that epitomizes their inner essence, it makes a political/social statement or all of the above. I am comfortable with the desire to place a descriptive on oneself, if it is what makes them happy and provides a sense of who they are and what they represent.
Conversely, there are those who abhor these types of labels. They argue that equality will never occur if people continue to label themselves and purposely set themselves apart from everyone else. They maintain the position that we are all just human beings; nothing more, nothing less. I am also comfortable with these arguments against labeling.
I have always said that I long for the day when everyone is just equal in everyone’s eyes, and we are all seen as human compatriots living our lives the best we can the way the unseen power made us. I long for the day when gay pride celebrations are no longer necessary because people just don’t care about the differences in people any longer and that full and unequivocal equality is the norm instead of the aberrant situation.
However, I am a realist. I know that this utopian situation is a long way off. As long as there are right wing, Christian and other religious zealots who condemn others for who they are at every turn, full equality will continue to be a distant goal. I firmly believe that it will ultimately be achieved but not without fighting for every advancement forward toward the goal of full and equal treatment on all fronts. Therefore, because of this, gay pride celebrations and labels are a necessary part of our lives.
Due to the continued persecution, discrimination and prejudice against LGBTQ persons, and those others under the rainbow tent, labels are an important aspect of one’s identity. One’s label represents the outward expression of who one truly is, and gives clear demarcation of that uniqueness to those who wish to whitewash society to be one homogenous entity, squashing differences among people and denying the existence of those who are different and do not think and act they way they think all people should act and think.
Label on I say and be proud of who you are. Express yourself loudly without fear or reservation. Do what is in your heart despite the consequences, as we must all look in the mirror and be comfortable with the person that is staring back at us.
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